Hurd defends UK diplomats
It was an almost jovial Mr Hurd who told a number of anecdotes to justify the diplomatic machine. This being a Conservative government, his talk was not least aimed at private industry. A constituent in the village of Witney, who a few years ago had never dreamt of being an exporter, was now - thanks to the Foreign Office's commercial work - selling Mickey Mouse clocks to Disneyland.
It emerges that Mr Hurd himself had asked to speak at the Royal Institute for International Affairs for the second time in four months to answer those who thought the diplomatic service could be replaced by a fax machine. For instance, he said, it was in many cases impossible to distinguish between political and commercial work: 'And you don't get the contract unless you've mastered the politics and cultivated the politicians. You don't do that by fax machine.'
He refrained from any detailed prognosis of future demands, he said, because 'I was very anxious not to be described as asking for money'. He did point out that last financial year, pounds 60bn was spent on social security, pounds 30bn on health, pounds 24bn on defence - and pounds 1.36bn on the diplomatic part of Britain's overseas effort run by the Foreign Office.
Rather than 'moving out of our handful of big, handsome embassy buildings abroad into suburban villas', use them to good effect: 'In 1814 the Duke of Wellington bought our embassy in Paris from Napoleon's sister. In 1993 Rover launched its latest model in the forecourt. The Duke would have approved.'
- 1 Michelle Watt's father says TV presenter killed herself because she was in constant pain
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 4 North Korean defector flees to Finland 'with evidence of chemical testing on humans'
- 5 Greek debt crisis: The photograph that conveys the despair of Greece's elderly
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...